Sat update: Sriracha sauce, MATA Downtown/Midtown service, Quetzal event, BrightKite, and more

Never made it to Paula & Raiford’s after the white trash party last night… got a text from a friend of mine who was at the Silly Goose.  I thought, “I’ll have one beer there then hit Raiford’s.”  I ended up staying until the Goose closed at 3.  It was a good night – one of those “randomly run into people and talk with them” kind of nights.  I like those.  I need to start hanging out at the Goose more on weekend nights.

Ran into a guy who liked my recommendation for Vietnamese sriracha sauce to spice up Bloody Marys.  He said I should buy a bottle and put it on hot dogs – he said I’ll never use mustard on hot dogs again once I’ve tried sriracha.  Said it was good on pizza too.  I’ll have to drive to an international market one day in my lunch hour next week and check it out.

Then I ran into a guy who gave me an information pamphlet on MATA’s Parkway Express.  It’s a gridded bus system that runs from 6 pm to 1 AM (3 AM on weekends) along the following Downtown and Midtown streets:

  • North-South:  Front, Second/Third, Danny Thomas, Cleveland, McLean, Cooper, and East Parkway
  • East-West:  North Parkway/Auction, Poplar, Madison, Union, Peabody/Linden, Crump/Lamar, McLemore/Southern, and South Parkway.

The brochure says that the buses are tracked with GPS and you can determine ETA online or via text message.  If they are really able to make this work that will be a coup for MATA.  A big reason MATA’s reputation is in the toilet with the locals is that their schedules are unreliable; if they can get the buses where they’re supposed to be, and inform riders electronically of progress, that will sure help.

I also like the fact that they run until 3 on the weekends.  That has long been one of my big complaints with MATA on the weekends, that their service cuts off before the bars close.  If they have buses that prove to be reliable and safe running to Midtown and back until 3 AM closing time, sure, I’d consider riding out there to catch a show at the Hi-Tone, or to have a beer at the Midtown Monkey or Boscos.  I imagine this would also be good for Midtowners who see all the fun we have Downtown and want to join in without risking a DUI getting home.

The brochure says that the buses are low emissions hybrids, and stops have emergency call boxes and video surveillance.  Looks like MATA’s finally entering the 21st century.  Unfortunately the website on the brochure is typical MATA; it links to a page that says “this page is parked courtesy of” and says nothing about bus service.  It does, however, contain links to dating services and info about Las Vegas.

Saw a flyer for an event called “Get Bubbly” at Quetzal, near Union and Marshall, Saturday, August 8.  2 for 1 martinis, $4 mimosas and champagne.  Event is from 5 to 10 PM, $6 cover, ladies free before 8.  Not sure what type of crowd they’re looking to attract, but the hours kind of remind me of the Peabody rooftop hours.

I joined a new social networking service this week – BrightKite.  The cool thing about it is, you can “check in” using GPS technology in phones/wireless networks to inform your friends of your whereabouts.  Not only can you see where your friends are, but you can see who else on BrightKite is in the same location as you or nearby.  Could be a cool way to meet new people, especially in friendly neighborhoods like Downtown.  It also integrates with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media services, and there are privacy settings you can use to determine who can see your location and who can’t.  You can also use it from your phone, via SMS or an iPhone app.  If you give it a try, my username on there is “paulryburn” if you want to friend me.

Also on social media this week, I discovered friend lists on Facebook.  Really handy.  I’m past the 500 mark on friends, and the posts and updates from everyone can get overwhelming.  Friend lists let you filter updates by people on lists you build.  For example, I built a list consisting of my core group of 20-30 friends I hang out with, to make sure I don’t miss anything going on in their lives.  I’m going to build a “BBQ team” list as well.  Think I may also build a “South Main” list so I can make sure I keep up with goings-on in that part of town.  Maybe I’ll also do lists for friends from college and high school.  There are a lot of possibilities.

Just realized two very unusual things happened yesterday:  I did not set foot in the Flying Saucer, and my total bar tab for the day was under $10.  Can’t remember the last time either of those things happened.

All right… time to go enjoy the day.  No plans at all today… those are often the days that work out the best.